Follow us on a journey through the most notorious pubs in London. The capital of England has steeped in history and culture, with many iconic landmarks and traditions that have stood the test of time. One such tradition that’s deeply ingrained in London’s history is the local pubs. Traditional, inviting, and notoriously authentic, the city’s historic pubs offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere where locals and visitors alike can enjoy a pint of beer or other beverage. These ancient bars have been around for centuries and are an essential part of London’s cultural heritage. They are some of the most fun things to do in London. Join us on a tour of some of London’s most historic and notorious pubs, where you can experience the city’s rich history and culture in every sip.
The Lamb and Flag – “The Bucket of Blood”
The Lamb and Flag bar is a historic London bar. Located in Covent Garden, this ancestral pub has crossed the centuries since the 1630s and was one of the biggest bare-knuckle fighting spots in the British capital. During the 19th century, it even earned the nickname “The Bucket of Blood”, writer Charles Dickens also frequented the pub at the same period.
Today, the Lamb and Flags is a history-fueled bar with a great selection of craft lagers, seasonal ales, spirits, ciders, artisan soft drinks and exclusive wines.
The Good Mixer – The Rock and Roll pub
The Good Mixer, a historic London pub located in Camden Town, gained notoriety during the 90s Britpop era. Built on the bomb site of the original pub during the 50s, The Mixer received its name from the cement mixer that was absent-mindedly trapped in the cellar during its construction. Musicians, such as Jarvis Cocker, Suggs, and Bobby Gillespie, were notorious regulars of the establishment, often found propping up the bar.
Even today, the pub preserves the same relaxed and fun atmosphere that made it famous, and remains the preferred Camden spot for live music, late-night DJs, live football matches, and a game of pool. So if you are looking for things to do in London at night, pay a visit to The Good Mixer !
The Mayflower – The perfect place to eat
Located in the heart of Rotherhithe, The Mayflower pub is a hidden gem. With cobbled streets surrounding this traditional English pub, you can enjoy stunning river views from the outside and cosy candlelit restaurant. As you warm yourself by the open fire, you can imagine who may have sat in your seat 400 years ago.
The food menu boasts classic British dishes, prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and perfectly accompanied by a great selection of traditional ales, craft beers, local gins, and fine wines. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to catch a sunset while enjoying one of the best fish and chips in London !
If you want to visit other historic pubs, don’t miss this guided tour of London’s oldest pubs.
The Spaniards Inn – The romantic pub
Dating back to 1585 when it was constructed as a tollgate on the Finchley boundary, The Spaniards is a pub with a rich history to share. This charming inn was named after the Spanish Ambassador to James I of England, and still exudes a romantic and nostalgic air, creating a sense of timelessness. Guests can enjoy the warmth of the open fire and relax in one of the many cozy corners.
Positioned on the edge of Hampstead Heath, The Spaniards offers an idyllic location, steeped in history and just a brief five-minute walk away from the heath. Accessible by bus and tube, this unique pub is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
The Prospect of Whitby – Oldest riverside pub
Dating back to 1520, The Prospect of Whitby holds the distinction of being London’s oldest riverside pub. Its original flagstone floor remains intact, with it’s pewter-topped bar, old barrels, and even ships masts incorporated into its structure. With spectacular views overlooking the River Thames, including from the beer garden, the majority of the pub offers a breathtaking atmosphere.
In its early days, the pub was a popular destination for those whose lives were intertwined with the river and sea, and it became infamous as a haunt for smugglers, thieves, and pirates ! Over the years, it has hosted several notable customers, including Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys, Judge Jeffries, as well as renowned artists Whistler and Turner. It is now one of the best places to visit in London.
And if you want to learn more about its history, check out this amazing London pub and Brewery tour.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – A dive in the past
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is an historic old pub in London and a monument of the city. It was rebuilt in 1667 following the Great Fire of London and has remained one of the most notable pubs in the entire country.
Its medieval style and dimly lit interior make it a real time capsule and one of the most fun things to do in London. Visitors can also enter the old vaulted cellar dating from the 13th century. The bar-restaurant is built like a house with a network of lounges, terraces and dining rooms, each more unique than the next.
This tavern has a very special character and is probably one of the most famous bars in England.
The Churchill arms – One of the most notorious pubs in London
The Churchill Arms is the most notorious and the most famous pub in London. It was built in the late 18th century and has been serving customers since 1826. The pub is famous for its striking floral displays, which adorn the exterior of the building year-round.
The Churchill Arms has been a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike for many years. It’s particularly busy during the holiday season, when the floral displays are even more elaborate and draw large crowds. Overall, the Churchill Arms is a unique and beloved pub that’s worth a visit if you’re in London.